Recently a map of Twitter usage in Africa was published however a suprising finding that emerged was that very few political and business leaders are tweeting. As Twitter takes off in Africa, governments, businesses and development agencies can really no longer afford to stay out of a new space where dialogue will increasingly be taking place. Rwanda's president Paul Kagame is a notable exception when it comes to political leaders, as is South African president Jacob Zuma, his most recent post on 8 January. "It feels good to be here in Mangaung," it reads. "I wouldn't have it any other way. The ANC is great."
Over 11.5 million tweets originating on the continent during the last three months of 2011 were analysed by Portland Communications's Kenya office and media platform Tweetminster. Unsprisingly, Africa's biggest economy, South Africa, generated the most tweets with over 5 million, more than double second placed Kenya's 2.48 million. Followed by Nigeria (1.67m), Egypt (1.21m) and Morocco (0.75m).
Rwanda, which has invested heavily in information technology, produced nearly 100,000 tweets – a lot more than its giant, impoverished neighbour, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with only 2,408 tweets.
The map also shows that thousands of people are now using Twitter in less "connected" countries such as Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger and Sudan.
How Africa Tweets carried out a survey of 500 of Africa's most active tweeters and found that Twitter is fast becoming an important source of information on a continent with few guarantees of press freedom.
The average age of African tweeters is between 20 and 29 years old, compared to the worldwide average of 39. Some 57% of tweets from Africa are sent from mobile phones as there are more people with phones than PCs.
Twitter is widely used for social conversation, with four in five of those polled saying they mainly used it for communicating with friends. But more than two in three of those polled said they use Twitter to monitor news. More than one in four uses it to search for job opportunities. Interestingly the majority of those surveyed said that at least half of the Twitter accounts they followed were based on the continent.
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